How will Maple Leafs forward moves impact team shooting percentage?


Over the past two off seasons, the Toronto Maple Leafs have made a fairly significant number of moves to their group of forwards beyond their core of Kessel, JVR, Bozak, Lupul and Kadri.

Significant forwards gone from the 2011-12 season are Mikhail Grabovski, Clarke MacArthur, Nikolai Kulemin and  JayMcClement, while Dave Bolland and Mason Raymond are gone from last season. Incoming forwards the past two off seasons are David Clarkson, Mike Santorelli, Daniel Winnik, David Booth, and Leo Komarov will return to the Leafs after a season in the KHL. The following table shows some key stats for all these players over the past 3 seasons:

 PlayerCF%TMCF%CF% -
Joining LeafsDavid Clarkson50.
Mike Santorelli50.550.7-0.25.92
Daniel Winnik50.349.21.16.63
Leo Komarov45.746.2-0.56.86
David Booth55.
Departing LeafsMikhail Grabovski50.446.24.28.96
Clarke MacArthur52.
Nikolai Kulemin44.846.9-2.19.09
Jay McClement41.247.2-6.07.33
Dave Bolland47.253.0-5.87.96
Mason Raymond47.348.4-1.1%7.96

CF% is corsi percentage while TMCF% represents how their teammates performed when they were not on the ice with these players. By looking at the difference (CF%-TMCF%), we can get an idea of how much impact they had on their teammates corsi percentage. Generally speaking, the guys coming in have a mostly neutral to slightly positive impact on their teammates corsi percentage. The departing players  range from having a significantly positive impact in Grabovski and MacArthur, to significantly negative impact in McClement and Bolland, to a slightly negative impact in Kulemin and Raymond. Overall it’s probably a bit of a wash, but the group coming in is more balanced — probably a good thing.

What has me most concerned, though, is the impact it could have on the teams shooting percentage, which has generally been above league average. Every player the Leafs have brought in (or brought back in the case of Komarov) have had well-below-average in on-ice shooting percentage (league average is ~7.8% over past 3 seasons), while the majority of players leaving have had well above average on-ice shooting percentage. The following chart shows this nicely.


There are 365 forwards who have played at least 1000 minutes during 5v5 play over the past three seasons. Of those forwards, Daniel Winnik ranks 285th, Clarkson 306th, Booth 326th and Santorelli 332nd in on-ice shooting percentage. This translates into rankings of 268th, 294th,  284th and 295th respectively in goals for per 20 minutes of ice time. These guys will not produce much offense and the Leafs team shooting percentage is likely to continue to drop from it’s peak in 2011-12, the season when it boasted eight very good shooting percentage players (Kadri, JVR, Bozak, Lupul, Grabovski, MacArthur, Kulemin and Kadri). Three of those eight are now gone and replaced with well below average shooting percentage players; as a result, we could see the Leafs shooting percentage drop, possibly close to or maybe even slightly below average.

This will have a negative impact on the Leafs’ overall goal production. The top lines will still score, but as bad as the bottom six was last season, how much offense can we really expect from the bottom two lines? They have lost a lot of offensive skill the past couple seasons and not replaced it (unless William Nylander can be a surprise and make a significant impact as an 18 year old). The hope is that those new guys will provide the team with better defense, but will it be enough to offset the drop in offensive production? I am not certain.



  • vinoa

    Interesting stuff. Can’t wait to see how the season plays out.

  • Luke_R

    I think there is a hole in the thinking here, or maybe i read too fast.  
    If you are concerned that the new players wont offset their low shooting percentages, replacing players with higher ones, does this take into account that the leafs shooting % was so high for a number of reasons such as : lack of total shots + capable shooters + luck + sleeping goalies = inflation?
    Maybe Im just reading wrong, maybe i cant write my thoughts the way i intended to and have in my head.  I hate typing, which i could discuss in conversation lol

  • Burtonboy

    vinoa I see two guys with high shooting % who really didn’t have much of an impact on the score board . Kulie and Bolland . One didn’t score much and the other didn’t play much

  • Komas Taberle

    If Kontiola can duplicate his KHL face off percentages, that would go a long way.

  • Luke_R

    Burtonboy vinoa Kulemins shooting percentage is a perfect example of why to discount this stat.  He had above average shooting percentage because he had a good shot.  He was told to shoot more, had the chances (some, however he sucked at creating his chances like he did when he scored 30) and as a result, inflated his percentage vs. his actual impact on the ice for the team

  • Mind Bomb

    Thanks David,  this may Balance with the new group preventing more goals, and At the end of the Day, Last year if I remember correctly, our bottom 6 finished Last in Points/production in the League, So even if their shooting percentage is lower, I will take more O zone time from them and less shots against. We can only go up :

    We can only go up :)

  • Luke_R

    Mind Bomb we can hope we can only go up…. unless youre in the #TankforMcDavid camp.

  • Mind Bomb

    Luke_R Mind Bomb NOPE, screw Tanking !

  • MaxwellHowe

    Some interesting insights David.  No doubt about it, for the Leafs to compete, the top six, and especially Kessel, have to be on their game.

  • Burtonboy

    MaxwellHowe No different then last yr when we didn’t even have a bottom six.

  • TML__fan

    Don’t think it is any mystery, but most all of the new additions were brought in primarily for what they can do for this team defensively.  The SH% that we want to see lowered is the opposition.
    Booth is a cheap investment, and if he can stay healthy, maybe he could fill in where Raymond did last year. He’s tougher in the corners, something that Raymond was lacking.
    Outside of Kadri, that second line last year was a mish-mash of wingers.  If Lupul struggles, or they fail to find somebody who can gel on the other wing with Kadri, then we may see the offense struggle.

  • Burtonboy

    Kulie didn’t Score, McClement didn’t score and Bolland did’t play much . To me the’re shooting % from last season is irrelevant

  • Mind Bomb

    Burtonboy I would like to see a shots for and against when our bottom 6 was on the Ice.

    22696 againts vrs 12 for :)

  • Rthiffault

    As long as these new guys can decrease the amount of goals going in our own net then I couldn’t care less if they have a bit less of a shooting percentage.

  • StanSmith

    Fact is these guys were brought in with the intention of preventing the other team from scoring.  Say what you want about shots for a against, puck possession etc, but like it or not a lot of this game is played without the puck.  You need guys that know what to do to prevent the other team from scoring when they have the puck.

  • peterbleafs

    When did we sign David Clarkson?  Thought we had him last year but do not remember him playing.  So much to think about…well I hope he plays like he did with New Jersey.

  • peterbleafs

    BTW the departed Leafs are better than the incoming Leafs when you look at that list of names.

  • Yaknowwhat

    Good stuff David…but to me this reinforces the many variables of these individual advanced stats….for starters….how much time on ice each did these players get? what was the quality of their line mates? what role was expected of them from their previous teamcoach?…were these guys put on the ice to score? or to hold leads and play strong defensively? my guess is the later for the most part…

    I think we all agree….scoring was not the Leafs problem….holding onto a lead….and keeping the puck out of their own net was….most of the guys brought in seem to be hard working,defensively responsible players for the most part….not guys who are going to score a ton of goals…

    I would like to see the overall time on the ice stat for each player, hits, blocked shots and the plusminus stat each player (additions as compared to the players we moved out)…this might give us a better idea if the new players are going to be able to play effectively defensively…which I think was the goal Shanny and Nonis had in mind….

  • Zep2

    Booth has a chance of giving us Raymond type production if he stays healthy, Frattin is capable of potting 15 if he gets his act together.
    Bolland wasn’t healthy and Kulie wouldn’t shoot, they could have had triple the shooting percentage and it wouldn’t have impacted the standings much

    I dont expect Nylander to make any impact, but Josh Leivo could be ready to contribute

  • ballballrun

    A consideration: if you consider that Orr McLaren Smithson Bolland McClement and Kulemin are gone, or, probably won’t be around much, their cumulative shots per game average is 0.73; replace those guys with Kontiola, Komarov, Winnik, Booth and Santorelli, whose shots per game come out to 1.6 shots per game per player, then that translates to roughly 24 more goals per 80 games to overcome those falling shot percentages.  So, perhaps it does come back to any analytic stat being part of the whole dynamic of hockey gameplay.  Food for thought.

  • Anthony Petrielli

    Dave- I would note that Mason Raymond was not a B6 forward last year. He played primarily with Kadri and Lupul and was not in the bottom six forward group in terms of TOI. I would also say the same of Clarke MacArthur who was regularly a top 6 forward with Kadri and before that Grabovski. There are also a few B6 staples that are missing (Orr, McLaren) that would even things out too.

  • Anthony Petrielli

    ballballrun How are you accounting for Kontiola?

  • wiski

    Any particular reason you left Fratton off the list? good stuff as always AP

  • Anthony Petrielli

    wiski I didn’t write this!

  • wiski

    Anthony Petrielli wiski Ooops seen your post and assumed lol

  • Burtonboy

    Anthony Petrielli wiski All that ice and water numbed his brain lol

  • maple1967leafs

    Burtonboy Anthony Petrielli wiski i’ll be getting me own taste of that ice within the hour,,,,,jesus must love me to BB   lol

  • wiski

    Burtonboy Anthony Petrielli wiski Beer is tasting rather good today as well 😉

  • MBD27

    Gotta be honest – when the Leafs had a high shooting % all of the advanced stats proponents indicated it was unsustainable and more of an outlier than indication of a quality team.  The graph above indicates that the Leafs shooting % is on average a full 1% over the league average over the last 5 years…my point is, how valuable of a predictive stat is this when it can be interpreted two ways in order to validate either a negative or postive argument about team quality?

  • ballballrun

    I just took his nhl stats from Chicago… any khl stats might be biased by competition or other variables … this was a really really quick check to see if the basic numbers supported my belief that s% wasn’t the key here. I think it holds up enough for a blog comment.

  • ballballrun

    I’d have to check my napkin, but I actually think I included him in my numbers.

  • Anthony Petrielli

    ballballrun Yeah I agree with the premise of what you’re saying. Just wasn’t sure how you could possibly account for Kontiola! I think there’s a decent chance we can include Clarkson in that B6 conversation too, and generally speaking he has a high SOG rate. 

    And hey, a lot of really good conversations that become very informative happen on blog comment sections.

  • Savo43

    Anthony Petrielli ballballrun Kontiola should increase that number.

  • Savo43

    Ppl are expecting Booth to be similar to Raymond from a production standpoint…and yeah…mayyyybe. but really the two players really aren’t that comparable. Booth is alot tougher to play against, he’s alot grittier, whose skating is a little choppier but just as effective, and definitely more effective on the forecheck. His out put goal wise could be Raymond-esque or better, but he probably won’t be near Raymonds assist numbers (but i guess strangeer things have happened). It’ll be good not to have to watch Raymond making an east west pass in the offensive zone that leads to an opposition scoring chance though thats for sure lol.

  • Anthony Petrielli

    Savo43 Anthony Petrielli ballballrun Hopefully. He’s a wildcard at this point, nothing more or less.

  • BoneChompski

    Savo43 Given his injury history and recent points production as well as in my mind projecting as a third/fourth liner getting around 14-16 minutes a night ideally, he should play 60-70 games and get around ten goals and twenty points.  Mason Raymond was explosive on odd man rushes which gathered the majority of his goals.  I think Booth would be a bit more ‘gritty’ as well and might be able to improve possession but he should be about half as offensively productive as Raymond.

  • HeatherRickAkin

    You have to think that guys like Holland , and maybe one or two of the veterans the Leafs signed on the cheap will create some offence , and thereby enhance the goals scored by lines three and four. Some of the troops used in the past couple of seasons couldn’t shoot a hockey puck into the ocean. I cannot see any possibility that the Leafs third and fourth lines score less than their predecessors.  We haven’t added any Phil Kessels, but how could you possibly miss proven four goal scorers like McClement, Kulie, Orr , Smithson, and the like.

  • JWaterdrager

    @MBD27  I think the advanced stats indicated that the leafs couldn’t maintain winning. Because those stats showed Leafs had low possesion, without possesion you can’t expect to win games. A good team will have good possesion stats not necessary good sh%, look at the Kings for example.

  • StanSmith

    JWaterdrager Actually I believe the stats you are talking about showed the leafs getting outshot a lot which really was obvious by just seeing how often the leafs got outshot.

  • StanSmith

    Looking at things the old fashioned way the Leafs bottom 6 included Kulemin, McClement, Bolland and Clarkson.  They accounted for 31 goals last season.  If Clarkson returns to his average production this season and regain the position on the 2nd line he lost to Raymond last season the 4 players replacing them would be Santorelli, Winnik, Komarov and Booth.
    Taking Komarov’s goal production from 2 seasons ago and the rest from last season they accounted for 29 goals, a drop of only 2 goals.

    If the bottom six is better defensively, while maintaining the same number of goals, and the top 6 provides the same production the leafs should be a better team.  I realize it is still a lot of ifs and or buts, no matter how you look at it. LOL

  • theduffeys

    @MBD27 And as you say, it’s been for 5 years now, it’s not just a data blip, it’s real for whatever reason.